White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed during Monday’s press briefing that the pro-freedom protests that erupted in Cuba over the weekend were “spontaneous expressions” from people upset with Cuba’s “economic mismanagement.”
“Just to follow up on Cuba, can you give us a sense of where the President’s policy review on Cuba is right now?” a reporter asked Psaki. “Do you anticipate making any changes, as Jonathan asked and where do you see it going from here?”
“Well, I will say first, and I meant to say this in response to Jonathan, but there’s every indication that yesterday’s protests were spontaneous expressions of people who were exhausted with the Cuban government’s economic mismanagement, and repression,” Psaki responded. “And those, these are protests inspired by the harsh reality of everyday life in Cuba, not people in another country. I’m saying that because I think there have been a range of accusations out there, as you well know.”
Jen Psaki calls the uprising across Cuba "spontaneous expressions" against the "economic mismanagement" of the regime.
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) July 12, 2021
Psaki was later grilled by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy over the administration’s claim on Sunday that the pro-freedom demonstrators were protesting about COVID-19 related issues.
“And then on Cuba, you’re talking today about how some of these protests are inspired by people exhausted with the government,” Fox News reporter Peter Doocy said. “Why is it that yesterday the State Department was saying that this was all happening out of concern about rising COVID cases?”
“Well, I would say first, that the protests were just happening yesterday, we’re still assessing what is motivating and, of course, in driving all of the individuals who came to the streets, but we know that when we say exhaustion, the, the, um, the, uh, the manner by which the people of Cuba are governed, that can cover a range of issues, whether it’s economic suppression, media suppression, lack of access to health and medical supplies, including vaccines,” Psaki claimed. “There are a range of reasons and voices we’re hearing from people on the ground who are protesting.”
“So, when these protesters are yelling ‘freedom’ and ‘enough’ there are people within the administration who think they’re saying freedom from rising COVID cases?” Doocy pressed.
“Again, I would say that when people are out there in the streets protesting and complaining about the lack of access to economic prosperity, to the medical supplies they need, to a life they deserve to live, that can take on a range of meanings,” Psaki claimed. “There’s a global pandemic right now. Most people in that country don’t have access to vaccines. That certainly is something we’d love to help with.”